Kristina Furey

Things and stuff

Soon after my mother’s death, I found myself in my psychiatrist’s office crying over things.  Things, as in, all the things my parent’s owned.  Things that I didn’t find important but all of the sudden, things I had to make choices over.  I was unsure how to make these choices.  On one hand I was so angry with the stuff, like a child full of jealousy.  I felt the stuff was more important to them than I was and strangely the stuff represented moments I could have shared with my parents and investments in my own life, I had starved for them to make.  I had wanted, I thought needed, a certain amount of closure with each of my parents that they either never felt was necessary, weren't comfortable giving, didn't feet I deserved or ….  fill in the blank cause I have no clue but I felt a void inside.  I’m very aware that stuff can’t fill the void, even more now, after trying.  It was easier for me to resent the stuff than to resent my parents.  The resentment started upon my mother’s return home, after leaving my family when I was eleven.  She had a job, money and goals, that seemed to be linked to this new life she was shopping for, a life we would accompany her in.  This life, recast her and my relationship.  She didn’t want to be a mother she wanted to be friends.  I was honored she felt this way towards me, while at the same time, I mourned the areas of my life she never returned to.

I have this very distinct memory of visiting my mom in her condo before she and my father reconciled.  I think it was my first visit there, when she said “Let’s go shopping!  I want to get you something.”  “What would you like?”  I looked around at her condo full of lawn furniture and boxes for end tables.  I thought of my own room at home and how I had been indulged with so much I had a hard time keeping my room clean (it was near impossible).  I thought about all the lessons she and my father had taught me in regards to being humble.  “We don’t have idols.”  “We share.”  “We are blessed and so it is our job to bless others.” My father once told me, if he caught me bragging to friends or at church, my stuff would go away.  It was poor manners to make anyone in your company feel anything but cherished.  We were taught in church that we were God’s fishermen and we did that by being an example of God’s grace.  So, I felt extremely uncomfortable when my mom said she wanted to take me shopping and she barely had anything to her name or in her condo.   She wanted me to have something of my own to keep in her home.  Seemed important to her and I didn’t want to let her down.  I thought of the least expensive thing I could enjoy that would last me many visits.  A rug hook kit.  I made over that rug hook, like it was my favorite thing to do.   Visiting my mom and doing that rug hook BECAME my favorite thing.  

After unloading my grief in my Psychiatrist's office and my distaste for the relationships people have with money and stuff, in lieu of people, it occurred to me, my desire to somehow preserve all the wonderful, loving things my parents did do for me and the precious moments we had shared, also made me want to grab and hold onto objects to preserve those moments.  I hoped to share some of these things and the reasons they were special to me with my children and/or grandchildren.  I was so conflicted, angry, confused and full of sad, lost, longing, for something that stuff will never cure.  I couldn’t help but remember when I wrote in my journal how quizzical it was, that some parents sell their children out in lieu of money, only to find themselves trying to buy their children back with that same money.  It’s like money=success and then people have experiences and age into seeing success=relationships and then try to save the ones most important to them.  Buying them if necessary.

I wasn’t too surprised to learn my children had little interest in their Grandparent’s possessions.  I almost felt like I was forcing objects on them.  I wanted them to take things that would keep the memory of my parents alive in them.  Some things I kept for my children, thinking maybe they would want them later down the road.  I also tried to encourage them to consider multi-generational wealth by sending them this link to a podcast where it is discussed.  My parents stuff was multi-generational wealth in the form of free home goods and furniture.  An inheritance.  It could save them money, which in turn, could be invested in their futures or the betterment of their current lives.  Maybe not easy to see but a better choice than the stylish, yet cookie cutter pieces of furniture you may find on HGTV and have to use credit to buy.  Probably something we should all be talking to our kids and encouraging them to consider.  Many times, my father's stressed the importance of respect for people and their hard work.  He gave me examples of how a lack of respect for those who came before us, their hard work and accomplishments, can end in tragedy and he encouraged me to read, “The Good Earth”.   It just might be the most important book I ever read and one I believe, may give you a better understanding of why many of us find it dishonerable to see Trump dismantling and disrespecting what the “Fathers of our Country” worked so hard to earn, understand and preserve for us.  

I am so thankful for/to my parents.  I loved them deeply.  I know they always meant well!  I have deep respect for them, all they taught me and all they did for me.  They were loving and kind people.  Still, as their youngest child, I had a front row seat to what I perceived as their flaws.  As I have aged, I have questioned some of my accounts in this area.  I have at times found myself making, what I believe to be similar errors in judgement.  It’s all too easy.  These things that distance us, parent to child, husband to wife, people to people, these things that create an environment of flaws, distrust and disconnection, I have been sensitive to my whole life and tried to make sense of it, as I watched the story play out again, and again with the same sad endings.  I have put down my weapons of anger and rebellion in hopes the pen is not only mightier but more productive than the sword.  I write what I write and say what I say because I think there are important things here to consider…  I’m reminded of a lyric I wrote years ago.  “I don’t know what exactly made me step up to the mic.  Wrote a song about a love gone wrong, so that others could feel right.”    I would not be sharing a thing if I did not believe it could be helpful.  Still sometimes I can’t even describe what I want to convey and those are the moments I’m so thankful to the other artists out there who find a way to say, show or touch others in such a way that communicates effectively what we need to be aware of and here is a link to a documentary that in my opinion, does exactly that!  It is called “Generation Wealth” by Lauren Greenfield who also did the documentary titled “Queen of Versailles”.  It too is well worth the watch!


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